interiorsandsources.com august2018 interiors+sources 23
her fall course curriculum, and the ILD program proved to be instrumental in
the process to introduce new concepts to students. Due to the entry requirements that center around the WELL Building standard, Gabdrakhmanova
immediately recognized the merit of bringing the challenge into the classroom.
“I liked that this was a project that required students to learn and design
by WELL standards, because design is changing – the whole approach of
designing is a little different now,” she said. “We’re not just making things
for beauty and functionality—now we’re changing how people live, how
they feel inside interior environments. And it’s so great for students to learn
that, especially if it’s integrated.”
The process of preparing entries was a challenging and eye-opening expe-
rience for many of her students, most of whom had never paid attention to
or been exposed to designing for health and wellness before, and on a very
tight deadline (just six weeks). But with a dedication to research and an eye
for detail, Gabdrakhmanova said Homayoonmehr rose to the challenge.
“I really can say that throughout the project, Afshin was very deep in
his research and what really impressed me was his attention to all the
details and his creativity,” she said. Gabdrakhmanova said she guided
Homayoonmehr (and other students) through the process, helping them to
refine their presentations and make adjustments when necessary. Of the 19
students in her class, Gabdrakhmanova said 10 of the concepts were worthy
of submission, but only four were polished enough to enter the competition.
Of course, Homayoonmehr’s work paid off handsomely, earning him both the
internship at Michael Graves as well as a trip to the NeoCon World’s Trade
Fair in Chicago this past June.
interiors+sources recently caught up with Homayoonmehr on the heels of
NeoCon to get his impressions on the ILD competition, as well as his internship and plans for the future.
interiors+sources: What did it mean for you to be named the winner of
the 2018 I Like Design competition? What did you learn?
AFSHIN HOMAYOONMEHR: It’s meant a lot for me, actually. It’s really different
than any other competition. It’s designed in a way to make students ready for
the design profession. The internship at Michael Graves has been great for me
and the NeoCon experience was really good as well. And then also the press
on me in the magazine is great. So, those are three positive things for my
future—wherever I go my resume will be impressive.
I learned about the WELL Building standard which we had to use for the
project entry, and it was very valuable because I think it’s a hot trend now.
It’s something beyond LEED. The WELL standard is something architects
and designers are talking about, so I’m already familiar with it, which is a big
benefit for me.
i+s: Tell us about your internship at Michael Graves. How’s it going so
far? What are you working on right now?
AH: It’s very good. I’m working in the interior design department and helping
them with a project, buying products, etc. It’s not anything out of the ordinary,
but everybody's super nice and helpful, and I’m learning on a daily basis.
I’m also part of a group project for new people like me – the other interns,
and new architects. They get us involved in a real-world project, which we’re
designing and doing the research part right now. We’re designing a facility
[for] homeless people. It’s interesting to work on a real project where we do a
lot of research and try to fix this problem that’s [common to] big cities.
i+s: What are your plans for the future?
AH: I’m going back, perhaps, to the west coast where I’m from and looking
for a job there. I also have plans to continue my education to get a graduate
degree because I already have a bachelor’s in engineering, so I’m thinking
about more interior architecture. But also, I feel like because the economy is
good, I should be working right now instead of in school, so I may take some
time off of school to go work professionally and gain some experience, and
then continue to my master’s degree [later].
If it sounds like the ILD competition is unlike others in the
industry, that’s because it is. Offering more than just a cash
prize and some publicity, this program is designed with
students’ professional development in mind.